John Harbaugh’s decision to go into overtime to try a 2-point conversion to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers rather than settle for extra points from Justin Tucker will be the subject of much debate this week.
But not for his players, many of whom defended their head coach’s thinking, which resulted in a 20-19 loss at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
“If we had converted that 2-point conversion, we would be having a different conversation now,” said inside linebacker Josh Bynes. “Let’s just be real. We’re talking about all these ways we find a way to win and all that other stuff. At the end of the day, they found a way to make a play, and we didn’t. That’s what came down, and that’s what these games are all about, especially at the end of this season. They made that one extra game, and that’s what counts.”
The final two minutes represent a roller coaster ride of emotions for Ravens fans. After the defense gave Pittsburgh a lone field goal through three quarters, the unit surrendered 17 points in the final quarter.
Included in that surge was the final game-winning touchdown, a 5-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver Dionte Johnson. When Roethlisberger found the tight end for a 2-point effort, Pat Freiremuth gave the Steelers a 20-13 advantage with 1:48 remaining.
But quarterback Lamar Jackson and the offense reacted swiftly, covering 60 yards in eight plays and capping the drive with 1:36 as Jackson hit wide receiver Sammy Watkins behind the end zone for a 6-yard score. Killed.
Although there were 12 seconds left in regulation, Harbaugh opted to go for two points instead of sending Tucker to kick extra points, tying the score at 20. The decision appeared accidental when Jackson passed the ball to Mark Andrews, who had opened wide in the right flat.
But with outside linebacker TJ Watts (3½ sack) jumping in the way, Jackson said he had to throw around, and his ball bounced off the fingers of Andrews’ left hand and fell on the turf, giving the Ravens their fourth loss. had to face. In 12 games.
“The coach trusts us,” said Devonta Freeman, running back. “The coach trusts us to go out and do our job. We have changed a lot this season. This is just another play for us. We get four downs, and we try to execute on every play. We want to execute whenever the coach decides to call it a call and go for it. We’re competing, we’re fighting, we’re fighting, we’re just trying to be better. It sucks, but we move on and try to be better.”
After the game, Harbaugh said he chose to risk a 2-point play as the defense neared overtime after injuring Marlon Humphrey’s right shoulder/arm while trying to prevent Johnson from diving into the end zone. There won’t be enough cornerbacks to play in. On Pittsburgh’s last touchdown.
He said, ‘We tried to win the match there. “At that time we were pretty much out-of-corner. So it was an opportunity to try and win the match there.”
Jackson credits offensive coordinator Greg Roman for coming up with it “Perfect play call.” The quarterback also agreed with Harbaugh’s aggression.
He said, ‘I want to win. “I didn’t want to go overtime anyway.”
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who is out for the 2020 season due to issues related to a broken ankle, lauded the option on Twitter. “I love the call… go for the dub!!!” He has written.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Harbaugh’s strategy did not surprise him.
“They play analytics aggressively,” he said. “So from that point of view, they are predictable.”
While a Tucker extra point appears to be automatic—he’s 372-for-376 in his NFL career, a conversion rate of 98.9%—the four-time All-Pro dethroned the Ravens’ only “game-tying extra-point effort” status. Missed the last 20 years, as reported by The Ringer’s Roger Sherman,
Bynes pointed out that critics would have been singing a different tune if the Ravens had converted that 2-point effort.
“I applaud the coach for everything and then for some,” he said. “He wanted to be aggressive. He knew it was such a big game in the AFC North and [he wanted] to be victorious. He was aggressive, and if we convert that, we’ll have a different conversation about how great the coach was and all these other things you guys say. And then we didn’t convert it and now it’s all bullshit or whatever. In the end, we have to find a way to win the game so that we are not in that position from the beginning. thats what its all about.”
Nose tackle Brandon Williams sums up the mindset of his teammates.
“We believe in our players, we believe in our team, we believe in” [No.] 8,” he said, referring to Jackson’s jersey. “We had faith and belief in him. We’ll do it a thousand times more. We play that a thousand times. We call him anytime, every time. We Still believe in Ravanas. We still believe in our crime, we still believe in our defense in every way possible.”